While iron levels can impact the levels of hemoglobin in your blood, iron does not seem to have any direct impact on your blood pressure. Preliminary research has suggested that a connection can be made, but there is currently no solid scientific evidence that low iron can influence your blood pressure. It does, however, impact your blood in other very important ways.
Iron and Your Blood
Your body needs iron to make heme, a compound that is then used in hemoglobin and myoglobin. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, hemoglobin and myoglobin are proteins in your red blood cells which transport and store oxygen from your lungs throughout your body. Low iron levels result in lower levels of hemoglobin and myoglobin, which reduce your blood's ability to carry oxygen. This condition is called anemia, and while it can cause fatigue, headaches, and symptoms similar to a heart attack like shortness of breath and chest pain, it does not seem to contribute to abnormal blood pressure.
Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure -- or hypotension -- occurs when either your systolic or diastolic pressure measures drop suddenly, which can lead to dizziness and fainting first, and eventually heart and brain damage, because not enough blood is flowing to your brain. Other symptoms may present as blurry vision, nausea, fatigue and depression. Causes of hypotension can include pregnancy, heart valve problems or failure, dehydration or a lack of vitamins B-12 and folate causing your body to not produce enough red blood cells.
High Blood Pressure
According to MayoClinic.com, blood pressure is determined by two factors -- one, the amount of blood pumped by your heart and two, the resistance in your arteries that restricts blood flow. High blood pressure can occur for a number of reasons, including cholesterol deposits in your arteries, too much sodium causing you to retain water, increasing your blood pressure, or even stress. High blood pressure does not necessarily present with many symptoms, although some individuals may have headaches and dizzy spells.
A proper diet can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure. To prevent both hypotension and hypertension, eat healthy foods like lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Eating lean red meat and other protein can also help make sure you are getting enough iron in your diet. In addition, drink water instead of alcohol, since alcohol can both raise and lower your blood pressure, depending on the situation.
Is This an Emergency?
- "British Medical Journal"; Dietary Iron and Blood Pressure; Saverio Stranges; July 2008
- Linus Pauling Institute; Macronutrient Information Center: Iron; Victoria J. Drake, Ph.D.; August 2009
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: What Is Iron-Deficiency Anemia?; April 2011
- MayoClinic.com; Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension); May 2011
- MayoClinic.com; High Blood Pressure (Hypertension); March 2011